FEMA To Hold Flood Insurance Workshop At New Orleans City Hall Friday
NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will hold a Flood Insurance Workshop on Friday, August 26, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the New Orleans City Council Chambers at City Hall, 1300 Perdido St., to provide the public information on the new updates to flood insurance rates and resources. This workshop is being held in partnership with District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell and District D Councilmember Jared C. Brossett.
On September 30, 2016, FEMA's new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) will be finalized and in effect for New Orleans. Due to significant improvements in drainage and flood protection, more than 53 percent of all properties in New Orleans were removed from Special Flood Hazard Areas (“A” zones”) and as a result, will benefit from more affordable flood insurance, City reps said. Under the new FIRMS, many homeowners will be eligible for a significantly lower flood insurance rate.
“FEMA’s new flood maps for New Orleans will make a huge difference for our residents, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars on flood insurance,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “The major flood in Louisiana this week should be a reminder to everyone that weather events can strike anyone, even those who have never flooded before. Property owners are encouraged to do everything they can to protect themselves from a catastrophic loss like a flood, including purchasing flood insurance. This workshop is a great opportunity to learn more about the new flood maps.”
The Flood Insurance Workshop will prepare insurance agents, real estate professionals, lenders, builders and surveyors with an understanding of the updated FIRMs, City officials said. It will cover the location of changes, the Newly Mapped Procedure and Grandfather rating options, policy conversion, customer retention, impacts of reform legislation and how to utilize new tools and resources.
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “Given that we are in the middle of hurricane season, it is important to remember that we must be active and intentional about our storm water preparations. New Orleans residents should educate themselves and inform their neighbors of upcoming policy changes in order to lessen the stress when disaster strikes. Preparation should be a key part of resilience."
District D Councilmember Jared C. Brossett said, “A great deal of work went into developing the new FIRMs and advocating for the changes that we will see. We hope that this workshop serves the community and professionals in the field as an informative opportunity to have questions answered prior to the implementation of the new maps."
New FEMA Flood Maps
The new FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps will affect approximately 85,000 policies in New Orleans. As of September 2015, the average flood insurance policy was $961. The cost of flood insurance in non-hazard areas (“X-Zones”) is cheaper than in areas with a higher statistical risk of flooding. Any changes to homeowners’ and business owners’ insurance premiums would be made through their insurance companies. The City strongly encourages all residents to have flood insurance, even if it is not required by their lender.
The City’s Department of Safety and Permits has worked with FEMA to enhance development regulations that will ensure maximum protection for people and property and will ultimately reduce premiums by an additional 5 percent citywide, City officials said. After the adoption of the flood maps by the City Council, homeowners will be required to build homes either three feet above the curb height or one foot above the flood elevation as determined by the maps, whichever is higher. The new elevation requirements will only affect new construction and substantial improvements permitted after June 1, 2016.
In November 2015, FEMA ruled in favor of the City’s appeal of the 2014 revised flood maps, which incorrectly placed Algiers Point area within a flood hazard area and had not taken into account significant improvements completed by the City and Sewerage and Water Board since the revised maps were developed. The City appealed the 2012 preliminary flood maps in 2013 indicating that the Base Flood Elevations that FEMA’s data established did not match actual ground elevation in the City and did not account for the presence of elevated railroad tracks in Venetian Isles. These revisions to the flood maps helped make flood insurance more affordable for area residents.
The workshop is free of charge and open to the public. However, seats are limited.